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The most effective ingredients found in cosmeceuticals, and why they’re important

January 31, 2018

Good quality cosmeceuticals should have a specific purpose – to produce a cellular change in the skin. These products should be designed ideally without artificial, synthetic fillers or preservatives and they should be in preferably a serum or light cream that is capable of being absorbed easily through layers of skin without building up and causing blockages. The base should also be of superior quality and work towards a therapeutic effect.

The main ingredients in cosmeceuticals should include optimum levels and specifically non-irritating forms of the below:

  1. Vitamin A
  2. Vitamin B
  3. Vitamin C
  4. Hyaluronic Acid (HA)
  5. Peptides & Growth Factors

The key behind the effectiveness of cosmeceuticals lies in the biologically active ingredients that are included in the products. These ingredients have therapeutic benefits beyond that of traditional moisturisers.
‘Cosmeceutical’ is the general prescriptive term given to skincare products that have higher levels of biologically active ingredients capable of producing real change to some of the important features of the epidermal skin cells.

All cosmeceuticals should have the optimum levels of the following antioxidants:

Vitamin A
Vitamin A is scientifically proven to help smooth fine lines, wrinkles and reduce all signs of ageing by improving skin renewal and stimulating collagen production to keep skin firm and supple. The form of Vitamin A in products is very important and few over the counter Vitamin A products use a pure Retinaldehyde due to cost and availability. There’s a myriad of other types of vitamin A and their derivatives in the market (retinyl palmitate, retinol, retin A etc). The issue with these forms are numerous as they need to be converted to Retinaldehyde before they can be absorbed, sometimes their physical size prevents penetration to cellular level, meaning their active performance levels diminish up to 40 – 50 times less than the pure form of Retinaldehyde.

Vitamin B
The benefits of Vitamin B, especially Nicotinamide, a form of Vitamin B3 (Niacin) has been shown to improve the ability of the epidermis to retain moisture, leading to softer, smoother skin with less dryness and flakiness, and a reduction of fine lines. Vitamin B also provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and improves epidermal barrier function reducing sensitivity and inhibits skin pigmentation. It also regulates overactive sebaceous glands and acts as a delivery mechanism for other nutrients.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is known to have a therapeutic effect on skin metabolism as well as brightness and clarity. It also can regulate pigment formation however some forms of vitamin C can have an irritating effect on skin and sometimes  a blockage effect causing outbreaks. However this can occur with the oil soluble form, water soluble forms do not have this effect and are a believed to be more therapeutic and can be used in higher concentrations where they are highly effective in terms of skin brightness with reduction and regulation of pigment.

Pigment regulating serums
Pigment regulating serums operate on the epidermal basal layer of the skin directly on the production and regulation of pigment by the epidermal melanin cells. They also even out the spread of melanin in skin. There are certain forms of prescription pigment serums that can have a negative or rebound effect on the skin. It is safer to use effective natural pigment inhibitors found from plant based organic substances that are extremely effective at regulating and reducing pigment production, these are the forms that should be used in quality cosmeceuticals.

Hyaluronic Acid (HA)
Hyaluronic acid helps attract water into the cells, plumping and hydrating the skin. The best forms of HA are lower molecular weight hyaluronic acids. Cosmeceuticals should come in both low and high weight hyaluronic acids.

Peptides & Growth factors
Peptides are highly effective collagen rebuilding active antioxidants. Growth factors, peptides and skin boosters help promote natural collagen remodelling to produce a smoother and more refined skin texture and complexion.

UV protection
Another important and vital ingredient is UV protection (sunscreen). UV protection should be used daily to filter the UVA always around our skin during daylight hours, especially from 9am -5pm all days of the year.

UVA is the  main cause of skin cell damage including excessive and irregular pigment production and skin cancer. Good quality sunscreen should contain physical UVA blockers, these are not absorbed into skin and act as a strong reflective barrier.

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